Spring is arriving and with it, a lot of animals, like people, will be suffering from seasonal allergies.
As most allergy sufferers are aware, seasonal allergies are caused by airborne pollens released by trees, grasses and weeds as they pollinate and fertilize each other. Another contributor to seasonal allergies are molds in outdoor air. Allergy season usually starts in late winter or early spring and runs through to late summer or early fall, depending on the climate in your particular region. As the season progresses, different types of pollens are in the air. First to pollinate are usually trees, followed by various grasses. Weeds pollinate at different times of the growing season but the most notorious ragweed pollen is floating about in late summer or early fall, in many areas east of the Rockies. Outdoor molds generally reach a peak in late summer or fall, though in southern climates, mold counts can be high year round.
In human medicine, allergy sufferers are often advised to reduce their exposure to allergens, stay indoors and close the windows. We however do not recommend this, as the stress of not being allowed outdoors and decreased activity are more detrimental to an animal.
What we usually see at this time of year are things like itchy faces, red, inflamed itchy ears and/or eyes, excessive licking and chewing at feet and even hives.
Why does this happen?
In the most simplistic terms, allergies are a malfunction of the immune system. The body recognizes a passive antigen, like pollen, as a threat, overreacts, attacks it and saves it as an antibody, creating a hyper-response.
The holistic approach to treating seasonal allergies is to help balance your pets’ immune system, an attempt to calm down the over-reaction occurring in the body. Acute symptoms can be alleviated through a more natural, fresh diet (see our Feeding Raw articles), supplementing with immune balancers and detoxifying and supporting the liver. The reasons why the body has been triggered to become over-reactive and the holistic and homeopathic perspective on how to reverse this process will be discussed in future articles.
Ultimately, the goal of holistic animal medicine is to treat your animal as a whole, targeting the underlying dysfunction and in the longer term, make your animal less allergic and healthier overall.